Between The Cracks: Essential Releases You Need To Hear

t’s time for your weekly dose of our ‘Between The Cracks’.

With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for new records to drop online and go overlooked. Each week we select new releases, from across the musical soundscape, that require your attention. Stream releases from Turn On The Sunlight, Lo-Fang, Polysick, Nailah Hunter, Armand Hammer, Quelle Chris & Chris Keys plus Nick Hakim. Happy listening – and don’t forget to hit the links and support the artists.

 

Turn On The Sunlight – Warm Waves

If you vibed on Turn On The Sunlight’s ‘New Day’ album, you will want to dive into their latest offering. It’s been seven years since Carlos Niño and Jesse Peterson blessed our ears and fans of the pair will welcome their return. Landing on Plant Bass Records, the duo have enlisted a fantastic array of talent including Mia Doi Todd, Sam Gendel, Laraaji, Jamael Dean, Luis Pérez Ixoneztli and more. Mostly instrumental, this album features five wildly cosmic tracks of incredible improvised New Age vibes, spiritual jazz and ambient warmth. There also two cosmically-charged remixes, both featuring the hugely talented Jamael Dean. Essential.

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Lo-Fang – Near Other Worlds

Superb new album of electro-acoustic ambient tones and lush vocal pop from Lo-Fang. On Near The Woods the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter brilliantly fuses meditative electronic music, sweet melodies, hypnotic cello, classical saranghi and folk textures that sometimes gather around his feathery vocals. The immersive, hypnotic quality of tracks like ‘We’re Not Different’ and ‘You’re The Friend I Need’ are mesmerising, as his soft tones course through the gorgeous production with such calm. The wondrous ‘Half Moon Glow,’ which features Amber Hirst Martin, Carlos Niño, Lucky Paul, and Tree Frogs is beautiful as well. Then there’s the album’s centrepiece, Himalayan Singing Bowl In The Hoh Pt.1 & 2, a near eighteen-minute masterpiece where he creates the most chilled and uplifting atmospherics that keeps you on your toes. Near Other Worlds is an adventure, enjoy this enchanting musical escapade below.

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Polysick – Flora E Fauna 

Italian producer Paul Kersex returns to Edizioni Mondo for his first Polysick album. Over eight tracks, he takes us on an impromptu stroll through Rome where our ears meet an array of different sonics over many diverse landscapes. The tick-tocking classical Indian drone of ‘Clocks’, is uplifting and relaxing. ‘Immersione’, ‘Passacaia’ and the shimmering ‘Pesci’ are all wonderfully crafted cuts. While ‘Faraona’, and ‘Stadium’ are vividly eerie pieces. This collection is an imposing slice of immersive, ambient moods and subtle field recordings of city life, distant shores and the countryside. Flora e Fauna is a fantastic body of work and one that is best enjoyed in one sitting. 

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Nailah Hunter – Spells

Spells is the debut release by Los Angeles based multi-instrumentalist and composer Nailah Hunter on the ever-reliable Leaving Records. It’s a lovingly crafted EP smothered in all kinds of beautiful harp meditations, and electronics twinklings topped off with her angelic tones. With six dreamy vignettes that span from ambient, over folk and electronica, Spells is a brief yet satisfying listen. 

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Armand Hammer – Shrines

With the world turned upside down by the pandemic and much needed social uprising, this album feels fitting and timely. Shrines is the new album from Armand Hammer—ELUCID and billy woods—their first since 2018’s Paraffin. As ever, this release finds the duo treading fresh ground; as the tackle weighty societal issues. Amidst no shortage of ambition, this project is not music for the weak-minded. As this is only a mini-guide we’ll keep this one nice and short: it’s a masterpiece! Both scary and comforting, uplifting and sad, Shrines is the perfect soundtrack for these uncertain times.

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Quelle Chris & Chris Keys – Innocent Country 2

The sequel to Quelle Chris and Chris Keys’ Innocent Country is a beautiful album from start to finish. As with any release from Quelle Chris you never quite know what to expect from his 2017 darkly satirical album with Jean Grae titled Everything’s Fine to last years profoundly introspective and reflective, Guns. The overwhelming feeling with the music on Innocent Country 2 is one of soulful bliss. Crossing paths creatively once again the pair step perfectly in sync and this project is undoubtedly one of Quelle Chris more straightforward releases, with the change of pace highlighting the versatility and brilliance of the Detroit MC’s work. Tracks worth a special mention are ‘Grease From The Elbows’, ‘Black Twitter, ‘Graphic Bleeds Out’, ‘Living Happy’, ‘Sacred Safe’ and our absolute fave ‘Mirage’. Although there are a few tracks that don’t quite cut the mustard, there’s not a lot that I don’t like about this project overall. Don’t sleep!

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Nick Hakim – WILL THIS MAKE ME FEEL GOOD

Three years after Nick Hakim’s debut album, the critically acclaimed Green Twins announced the singer-songwriter as a distinctive talent, he returns with a new project that resists genre classification. In the intervening years, he’s worked with his peers, some including Onyx Collective, Anderson .Paak, Jesse and Forever, Lianne La Havas, and Slingbaum, but there came a time for Hakim to dive into his songwriting again, and Will This Make Me Good is the result of this. Hakim describes the album as ‘a journey in process’, and WTMMFG is a project that rewards with repeated listening, so stick with him as he continues his expedition.

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CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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